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King of the Hill - 15 Minute Board Game Challenge

Page history last edited by Alex Crouzen 11 years, 11 months ago

Step 1: The board

 

Lacking any drawing skills whatsoever, I basically drew a winding path, zig-zagging down an A5 page from my notebook. I'll scan it in at some point, but suffice to say that I then divided it into 37 segments. the topmost had 'END' written in it and the bottom one 'START' with an added arrow pointing along the track upwards.

 

edit: here's a fairly accurate facimile of the first board I drew: king of the hill board.png

 

Step 2: The Theme/Objective

 

My first thought was to have a race down the mountain trying to escape oncoming lava and boulders coming down. However, when I came to the 4th step (conflict) I changed my mind and made it a race up the mountian. I kept the boulder idea though. So now the objective is to race up the path and avoid any boulders bouncing down.

 

Step 3: Movement rules

 

I decided to keep the game simple and slow. A normal 6-sided dice (a d6 for all you RPG-nerds out there <waves>) determines the number of spaces you move up the mountain. That's it. You can use anything to represent players on the track. No special rules on being in the same space.

 

Step 4: Conflict!

 

Aha! Here's where it became interesting. I wanted the conflict rule to be something elective yet random. Some comments have already been made on the blog that a game isn't a game without decision.

 

So: instead of moving, you can forego your movement and cause a boulder to bounce down the path. When you do, you roll the die and starting from the 'END' space, the boulder will bounce on spaces that are separated by the number of spaces you rolled on the die. So, if you roll 1, it will be BOUNCE on the 'END' space - skip 1 space - BOUNCE on the next - skip 1 space... etc... Any players hit by the boulder return to the 'START' space at the bottom.

 

I though this interesting to try because when a player decides to let a boulder bounce, it is still random whether any player(s) will get hit by the boulder (and the player who caused it could potentially be kicked off himself!), but if someone gets hit, it will still feel as if it was done by the player who chose to do so.

 

Rounding it off:

 

- Turn sequence is decided by highest dice roll to go first and then clockwise around the table. Re-roll any draws.

- First one on or past 'END' wins

 

Thoughts:

 

- Will the number of spaces on the board make any difference?

Comments (6)

Robert Polzin said

at 12:32 pm on Jun 30, 2009

Hooked this page up to your wiki page. It wasn't working before (hope you don't mind...) I think its an interesting concept I just worry about giving the players to decide when the boulder comes. What if you made it based on effects on tiles or if a player reaches the top they have to fend off other players for x amount of turns by tossing boulders and rocks down at them?

I think you definitely should consider the board setup heavily when doing this. How would this game be if each player started on a different side of the board. Say there were 4 starting areas in a North, East, South, and West spot and their paths never crossed each other? How would the outcome of play change then?

Alex Crouzen said

at 12:45 pm on Jun 30, 2009

@Robert: no problem. It might be because I was still creating the page at that moment.

As to your concern about a player deciding when the boulder(s) should bounce, my main goal with that decision is that I don't want the game to be just dice rolls. I want player decision to be a major part in the game. It could lead to strategising ("hmm, I'm not that far up, but X is, so if I roll the boulder now, I'm at a lower risk than X"). I didn't want the game to be purely random (as in the dice make ALL the decisions)

Robert Polzin said

at 1:05 pm on Jun 30, 2009

Understandable,
It is nice to have player decision in the game as it definitely extends the replay value.

Leana Galiel said

at 3:43 pm on Jun 30, 2009

I like the concept of allowing players to decide when boulders fall, and that they could potentially be sending themselves to their own doom, it really adds to the gameplay.

About your question of spaces, if there are not enough spaces, then the movement of the boulder (its skipping of spaces) will not have enough room to really get the effect I believe you are going for. Too long and the game will not only last forever...but players will not want to use the boulders simply because it takes too long to count through the spaces it hits. For example, say there were 100 spaces. If a player rolls a 6 that means that a boulder will hit 15 squares, if they roll a 1...thats 50 squares.

What if instead of a numbered die, there was a color die for the boulder. Each square on the board is one of 6 colors. If a player chooses to drop a boulder down the path, they roll the color die, and every square that has that color is where the boulder bounces.

Alex Crouzen said

at 5:12 pm on Jun 30, 2009

@leana: The coloured die is of course the next logical step if you want to simplify the 'resolving' of the boulder bounces. On the one hand it would make it an order of magnitude simpler, but - although the idea is very good - it also takes away the 'bouncyness' of the boulder if you know what I mean. I think a player actually going 'BOOM - one, two, three - BOOM! - one, two...etc.' might actually be just a bit more fun.

Using numbers also removes the predictability a bit. If you want X to be bounced off the track and (of course) you want yourself to be spared, then waiting until you're on different coloured squares seems just a bit too... well, too easy. Someone with a very good numerical mind would probably have no problem working out very quickly what the chances are of X being hit and not yourself using the numerical system, but I's still prefer the number approach for now :) - Sorry for my stubbornness...

However, you have given me an impetus to start up a drawing program and to make an actual board. I might see if my wife is willing to give it a go. (which will also tell me if it's any fun with just 2 players...)

Leana Galiel said

at 2:28 pm on Jul 1, 2009

Ya I was thinking about the predictability part too, I was just worried that if the board is too long people would get fed up counting so much haha. Let me know how playtesting goes, I am interested to know how well it works (if I can get someone to play with me I want to try out the color idea)

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